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Which old lenses gives the best bokeh?

Spring is coming (maybe not in my city, but still :D), flowers starts blooming, and @lu's photo - "#crocuses" - makes me thinking about buying some god'ol lenses for "bokeh photography". I have Helios 44m-4 but I'd rather have something longer (and maybe brighter).

I'll use it with Canon, it can be totally manual, even without focus confirmation (I've exchanged focusing screen and can deal with it), but of course the easier the better ;-)

I can see that some of you have some experience with that. Can you give me some advise? What you love? What you hate? What is affordable and can be bought without yearly hunting?

I'll be grateful for any ideas, thank you in advance!


Lauren Huston A friend messaged me today offering to lend me the Jupiter 9 85mm f/2.0 (m42 lens).
This is the page he linked me to for samples: and I also saw it on here:

It looks very pretty and he said he loves the bokeh for it.

zlasu I really like my 60 year old Meyer Optik Trioplan 50/2.9
known for dreamy booble bokeh
"Old lens magic"
"Buble bokeh"
"Old lens"
(I have small m4/3 Olympus sensor, on Canon effect can be 2x better)

Rafal I am using Meyer Optic Trioplan 100 and Helios with a special adaptation called Petzfal effect. But in my opinion the best bokeh gives Rubinar 300 mm f 4.5 but this lens very rare and really expensive (ca 800 euros and you can find it on eBay). Samples from Helios and Trioplan You can find in my portfolio here and on instagram (rafalniziolek71)

"The rime"
"Busy bee"
"Chinese lantern..."
"Good Morning Mr.Snail"
"Dried blackberries..."
"Swirly...the magic of old lenses..."

Marta Tomaszewska Can you tell me which one is via this helios adapter? Maybe it would be enough for the beginning... 😁
Those blackberies are something in the middle of what I want to achieve.

vera Indeed! The Petzfal effect is great!

Rafal Busy Bee and Swirly is Helios, rest of them is Trioplan 100

pi Now I'm in love with old Canon FD 55/1.2. Great bokeh, one of best manual lenses i've used. You can see many pic capture with it in my gallery. And Voightlander nokton (both 35 and 40) are good choice if you lookin for really magic and painterly blur background, I used to have (and unfortunately sold) and I remember with delight.